Old friends put new rivalries aside to launch Fans for Foodbanks initiative
Warrington Wolves, in conjunction with our Charitable Foundation and Supporters Trust, have joined forces to launch a new initiative to support those most in need from the local community.
The ‘Fans for Foodbanks’ initiative, similar to schemes already in place at many football clubs across the country including Everton, Liverpool and Huddersfield Town, sees fans bring household food and hygiene products on matchdays. Donated items are then distributed to two Foodbanks who have been supported by Warrington Wolves and our fans since the Covid-19 pandemic – Warrington Foodbank and Friends of Meadowside.
Sitaleki Akauola and Jason Clark both volunteered at Warrington Foodbank during the first lockdown in spring 2020. Akauola spent four seasons at the Wire and will come up against his old side for the first time this Thursday night in Super League’s “Rivals Round” when Warrington face Salford at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, 8pm kick-off.
Supporters attending the game are encouraged to bring along any non-perishable food items (tins, packets, cartons, jars, etc) with two collection points outside The Halliwell Jones Stadium next to the official club store and the Brian Bevan Statue. The collection points will be open from 6.30pm.
A donation station will also be in-store throughout the week and at all Reserves, Academy, Women’s or Scholarship games at Victoria Park Asics Stadium going forward.
Over the last decade, there has been growing public concern about the signs of severe poverty, particularly the rapid growth in the number of charitable food banks and parcels distributed in the UK. As more and more people across the country face destitution – meaning they are unable to afford the absolute essentials to eat, stay warm, dry and clean, the reliance of families on foodbanks to provide food and support is growing.
As part of the Welfare Reform agenda for the town, Warrington Borough Council have kindly offered their support through the donation of the donation stations.
With many families in Warrington being forced deeper into poverty, people are facing impossible decisions where for some their only option is to either skip meals to provide food for their children or heat their home. It may be hard to believe, but in the UK, the sixth richest nation on earth, there are people, many of them in work, who don’t have enough money to feed their families. Estimates suggest that as many as 14 million people are living in poverty, including 4 million children.
More and more British families are unable to provide regular meals and as a consequence are forced to buy cheaper, less nutritious and more calorific foods leading to unhealthy eating habits. Families living in food poverty are often unable to give children basic meals and the impact on their physical and emotional wellbeing can be devastating with youngsters not getting the vitamins, minerals and fibre that are essential for healthy growth.
Jason Clark at the Food Bank this week
Many of those who access a Foodbank are low income families hit by a crisis that is not their fault such as redundancy, reduced working hours or something as seemingly small as an unexpected bill. Others are victims of domestic violence, people experiencing debt problems or those affected by illness.
Warrington Wolves forward Jason Clark said: “This is a big thing for our community and the best way to kick it off is over Easter on Thursday.
“If anyone coming to the game can bring some food which they can donate that’s really helpful for the community and this organisation. It’s very eye-opening when you see the depths of the operation at the Foodbanks. This community is strong and we look after each other.”
Salford Red Devils player Sitaleki Akauola added: “We’re all going through tough times at the moment and the guys here at the Foodbank more so than anybody. If the fans coming out to the game can bring some food or toiletries to help out that’d be awesome.
“If they even wanted to lend a hand at the Foodbank in the future I know that would be very welcomed too.”
David McDonald, Warrington Foodbank Project Manager, added: “We are entering an extremely challenging time at Warrington Foodbank. Due to the dramatic increase in fuel bills, more families than ever are sliding into food poverty and needing to access our services. The problem is further compounded with the ongoing humanitarian issues in Europe, which has resulted in a sudden decrease in donations.
“As we enter into our tenth year, there appears to be no end in sight and we urgently need further donations to ensure that we continue to meet the demands of our local families in crisis.”
Alex Chicken, Chair of the Warrington Wolves Supporters Trust & Squad Builder commented: “The opportunity to come together as a collective to tackle the food insecurity faced by the people of Warrington is more important than ever considering the current challenges faced by some of the most vulnerable members of our local community.
“With the fantastic work done by our award winning charity Foundation through their Holiday Hunger projects during school holidays, we hope that our supporters will help us in a small way by donating a non-perishable food item or hygiene product that can be distributed by Warrington Foodbank and Friends of Meadowside. Foodbanks in the town have given out record numbers of food this year and nobody should be faced with the food poverty in 2022 so if you are in a position to donate anything it will be gratefully received.”